Jani Serendipity

this is … not goodbye!

by jani on April 8, 2013

I love blogging – it has introduced me to a whole new world of friends and interests… and for that I’m grateful. I have decided, for very personal reasons, to take a break from the blogosphere. I love you all and want you to know that this is not goodbye!

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My wish to all of my readers is:   Enjoy the precious moments with your loved ones and give of yourself in any way you can. Years ago, I taught an early morning religion class. Once a week we had “Called To Serve Tuesday”.  I asked my students to serve in even a small way on that day… if only so much as a smile to a lonely student passing them by.

Have a great week and I hope to return soon!


I’m a statistic…  I’m a victim of sexual child abuse. This statement somehow sounds so cold. My abuser was a neighbor… no one suspected him. I don’t know how many children he abused. Back in the early fifties, there was really no accurate count of the number of pedophiles in our country. It was really taboo to speak of such things.

At least now, sexual abuse is a  much more acceptable subject and is even an encouraged discussion among parents to children. But we have so much more work to do, if we wish to eradicate all child abuse and sex trafficking in our country. I believe that there is hope – but we need to get parents, educators and legislators all on board to improve the statistics. That’s right… it happens, most often right under our noses. And Utah (where I currently live) ranks a D when it comes to stopping sex trafficking of minors. No young, innocent girl wakes up one morning and says, “Gee, I think I’ll be a prostitute when I grow up.”

Most young girls, who are, are being forced into this profession ( I don’t like using that word) Rather than prostitute, let’s use the term “sex slave” – since many of these young girls are the product of kidnapping and methodical grooming. They are often treated worse than animals.

People, this just has to stop! Recently an observant Delta flight attendant noticed a peculiar and uncomfortable situation on her plane. Before landing, she contacted the authorities and a man who had been on her plane was arrested for kidnapping the three young people traveling with him… IT CAN BE STOPPED!

I have struggled with image my entire life… never really feeling pretty. It’s been a constant inner battle. The evening that I was asked to share my abuse story publicly –  the first time in my 64 years… I found myself asking HB for affirmation to try to dispell my negatives: “Honey, does my hair look okay? And what about my eyes… do thy look really bad… all puffy and gross?” It was in those moments that I stopped and connected the dots. This goes back to years of my feelings of worthlessness and guilt. I felt like I was being abused all over again by this neighbor.

I copied a photo to show this high school group… it was taken shortly after the abuse began. “It’s our secret… just between us. Remember, don’t tell anyone!” Les would say. So for 38 years I was silent. I did begin to avoid him whenever he came to our home after I reached age nine or 10. But I can still smell the cigarettes on his hands and see his yellow crooked teeth in my mind….

It’s so different looking at my young me and realizing how innocent I truly was.

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I look back at photos of me when I graduated from Denver University. I wasn’t ugly – and yet I felt ugly, dirty and guilty.

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It’s easy to hide behind a mask when you’ve been sexually wounded- physically, emotionally and psychologically. I spent much of my adult life doing just that. It wasn’t until I met  HB, my best friend… the person I finally felt completely safe with, whom I could finally share my abuse story with. He held me close and let me sob. I’m not sure how long. But I do know he was there for me. It’s very difficult to allow people into this ugly world. But once I did, I was able to begin my healing and forgiving process. Therapy definitely helped.

As I said earlier, I finally, after all these years, shared my story publicly for the first time. It was another cathartic moment. The tears flowed freely, but once I was finished, I felt some more of my burden lifted.

You may ask, how can I help? If you’re a Utah resident here is a link: Raise The Grade

We each have a voice. I would suggest we use it – for it can be a powerful tool against this evil! As always, I welcome any comments.


the story teller

by jani on March 20, 2013

As a grandma, there aren’t too many more satisfying moments than story telling with your grandchildren. I love to tell stories. Each quiet moment spent with my adorable grandchildren, becomes yet another opportunity to share experiences through oral language. It’s just a part of me. I listened to my grandma’s stories – and still never tire of my mom’s. She always has something… some bit of wisdom,  to pass on to me. And, I in turn, I hope to do the same with my little ones.

A few weekends ago, I had the opportunity to play (babysit is such an inadequate word!) six of my grandsons. We had such a wonderful time together – but the best memory is snuggling up in the big king-sized bed surrounded by these darling boys and sharing our love, and of course, stories!

My son and daughter-in-law brought back this small treasure from their trip to Santa Fe. They told me it reminded them of me. They could envision me surrounded by my fourteen (and I’m sure that number will increase) grandchildren telling stories as the Native Puebloans have done, from generation to generation. I was so touched that I wanted to share this with my readers.

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How could I not enjoy this lovely family and their handsome boys?… my wonderful grandsons!

chris family 1Isn’t this such a great tradition of the Puebloan culture – gathering their children around the elders as they share the same stories that they had heard from their youngest years? This is such an important way to preserve our heritage!

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The  timing of this just seems so perfect, as I am anxiously anticipating this week’s Story @ Home 2013 conference in Salt Lake City. A very special thank you to Oh Sweet Basil for offering this conference giveaway, that I was lucky enough to win! I look forward to sharing many of the things I will learn with my family, loved ones – and you, my readers!

What are your favorite ways to share your stories with your children and grandchildren? Do you always try to include some moral principle or educating moment, as you share? As always, I welcome your comments! 


build your blog conference ’13

by jani on March 13, 2013

There are so many wonderful words I could use to describe Build Your Blog Conference 2013… and I will. Fabulous. Inspiring.  Influencing (those who attended will especially get that word…  thank you, Brooke Walker!) Uplifting. Comforting. Educational. Friendly. Awesome. Cool. Captivating. Informative. Enlightening… and Winning!

Now, that I have your attention, you have two more days – TWO – to get the 50% off your registration for next year’s, BYBC ’14. What are you waiting for? Just click the highlighted link in the previous sentence and sign up! I promise you won’t be disappointed!

BYOB 11From the very beginning of this conference you just knew The Six Sisters knew their “Stuff”! Check out their awesome blog!

There was a great panel of our favorite Foodies… talented and seasoned food bloggers…  Maria from Two Peas and Their Pod, Laura from Real Mom Kitchen, Erica from Favorite Family Recipes, Nikki from Chef-in-Training and Amanda from Kevin and Amanda. This was a very informative session!

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I absolutely loved the keynote speaker, Brooke Walker,  from KSL’s Studio Five. She was warm and charming, but of course most impressive was her message. As bloggers we are influencers. We do need to “add more voice – maintain [our] verbal influence”. When I hear the common phrase, “I’m not being a Pollyanna!”, I want to yell, “What’s wrong with Pollyanna?” I loved that Brooke mentioned, “Play up the positive” [when we write] and “put forward the pretty things” …  and why not?

Dad to the Sisters and founder of MyRecipeMagic, Larry Adamon, presented very helpful tools and advice needed to take our blogs to the next level and so much more!

I left this conference asking myself, “What can I dedicate myself to?”

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Everyone was affable and engaging.

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And to top off the day, I won (I guess I have to stop saying that I never win… maybe the luck of the Irish is rubbing off!) a Mini Cricut! Yes, me the non DYIer, won one of three Mini Cricuts that were part of lots of prize giveaways and swag!

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I came home from this conference filled with a renewal of commitment and a desire to be a better person, mommy, grandma, friend and blogger. Was this conference beneficial and worthwhile? Absolutely!

Did you go this year to Build Your Blog Conference ’13? Do you plan to go next year? If you could improve and bring a stronger voice to one part of your life… what would it be? I welcome your comments.